Dramatic: Watch surfers on Reunion Island escape helicopter policing COVID-19 lockdown by fleeing into jungle!

The criminalisation of surfing on gorgeous French tropical island continues…

Surfers attempting to surf St Leu a day or so ago, in what looks like absolutely firing waves at St Leu, were buzzed by a helicopter.

The three surfers scramble in and gather themselves before disappearing into the trees that line the beach at St Leu, and alongside the old campsite that used to front the break.

The chopper lands and an authoritative figure jumps out and proceeds to give chase, ducking through the tree line in a bid to capture the crims, for that’s what surfers are nowadays if they go surfing – criminals.

Now, surfing ain’t a crime in most countries, but it is on Reunion.

Some background.

On 12 April 2015, a 13-year-old surfer, Elio Canestri, was killed surfing in Reunion by an eight-foot bull shark. He was one of the best up-and-coming surfers in Reunion, a place that has been torn apart, literally, by shark attacks, while the authorities dither and refuse to make changes to the fishing reserve on the west coast as well as shark-hunting policies.

Read about it here.

Elio would have turned 18 this Easter.

The authorities have made it illegal to surf mot spots in Reunion, putting the pressure on the surfers, as opposed to cleaning up the mess they have made with the ocean. No one it seems is prepared to make any bold moves to fix a problem that is wildly out of control.

In the last eight years, there have been twenty-four attacks, and eleven of those have proved to be fatal.

So, as a surfer, you have hordes of dumb bull sharks tearing around the line-ups, wanting to eat anything in front of them, be it birds, fish, car tires or surfers.

If you go for a surf, you are running the gauntlet every time, and any session you brave might be your last might be the last time you see your family.

It’s a helluva thing.

If you do survive a surf, there is always the risk of the Gendarmerie waiting for you on the beach, to slap you with a EU37 fine, with those fines escalating each time you get caught, until one day you’re in a cell and wondering what happened to your life.

So going surfing is hard, in a place that used to be the jewel of the Indian ocean surfing scene.

St Leu used to be a stop on the WCT and was the location for Jack McCoy’s epic Pump movie. In it, a marvellously braided Occy going crazy, along with Ronnie Burns RIP.

The joint was a delight.

Surf schools used to flourish, surf backpackers, surf shops, shapers, there was a full-on industry.

All gone now.

Back in the day, La Reunion was South African surfer’s secret surf destination.

Warm and perfect, coral reefs, mechanical waves like St Leu, barrels in St Pierre, big waves at Le Port and sometimes Etang Sale, grinding reef-pass barrels at L’Hermitage and nudity at Trois Bassons.

It had everything.

Now with this bug flying around, shit just got infinitely worse on the island for anyone brave enough to surf among the sharks, or foolish enough to take a chance with COVID-19.

Reunion currently has 389 cases.

The surfers all escaped the chopper, using back alleys and secret routes, and they all got home.

Who knows, maybe they even picked up a couple of delicious Bourbon Beers – the tasty local brew – to have a quick celebration over beating all the odds, because they sure were stacked against ’em.

Local surfers on the whole, however, continue to remain indoors and don’t want people to take these chances.

"We're best friends and nobody else!"
"We're best friends and nobody else!"

Just in: New Zealand Coronavirus Gestapo collaborator “disappointed” in abuse received from surfers!

"Defiant, smart, abusive."

When the whole entire world is put under lock and key, it is extremely difficult to police properly. There are simply not enough jackbooted law enforcement officers, state park rangers, lifeguards to make certain that seven billion people are shuddering inside their homes, hiding from the Coronavirus with curtains drawn etc. Not going outside, to the park or, even worse, the beach.

Thankfully, and if we have learned anything from Hitler’s Germany, Stalin’s Russia, Pol Pot’s Cambodia, it is that many people are more than happy to papier-mâché little swastika badges at home and play collaborator.

But shall we hurry to New Zealand’s Hot Water Beach where one lone volunteer sturmabteilung is being abused by surfers for his brave work on behalf of the state?

A Hot Water Beach resident abused whilst trying to stop lockdown flouting surfers says he won’t give-up on his mission to keep the waters clear.

The man, who wanted to remain anonymous so he could remain unrecognisable to the law breaking surfers, says despite his best efforts, the Coromandel surf beach remained a popular spot.

On Saturday, April 4, police released updated guidelines around Alert Level 4 rules and provided clarity around what was acceptable bubble behaviour – that included a ban on swimming or water-based activities such as surfing or boating.

But just days later, the Hot Water Beach local counted around 20 surfers in the ocean. As Easter weekend rolled in, there continued to be a steady stream.

When he confronted them, he was abused.

“Since lockdown​ started I’ve been trying to educate the people of Hot Water Beach, but I’m not getting very far,” he says.

“They’re very defiant and have been very smart and abusive and they’re making a lot of noise to be noticed.”

He says he’s well-aware that being a “squeaky wheel” wouldn’t do him any favours with the surfing community, but his priority was keeping the community safe.

Should “Defiant, Smart, Abusive” be BeachGrit’s new tagline?

Also, could it be possible that this anonymous man is, in fact, Ken “Skindog” Collins?

More as the story develops.

Breaking: Malibu surfers “enraged, incensed” as Coronavirus Gestapo allows bicyclists to freely travel in “disease-ridden pelotons!”

The hypocrisy!

Hypocrisy is a many splendored thing, ain’t it just though? Hypocrisy and social-distancing laws determined to keep the cold leather of freshly-polished jackboot on the neck of surfers, baseball enthusiasts and playground basketball aficionados. To keep all of our games illegal and especially surfing.

Santa Cruz fell just before the weekend, city officials bending to the mighty will of local son Ken “Skindog” Collins, cancelling surfing for the foreseeable future.

Your town or city is certainly next and once the joy of being an outlaw wears off, the frustration will settle in, especially when you are gazing mournfully at empty waves then almost hit by an aggressive peloton of spandex-clad bicyclists riding shoulder to shoulder, passing their Coronaviruses back and forth with the greatest of ease.

The hypocrisy and why, do you think, that surfing was so easily and readily banned by coastal hamlets around the world but Tour de France-esque play is encouraged? But let us see for ourselves in Malibu, California.


Oh I don’t want to tattle on bicyclists but…. never mind.

I do.

There are very few things more annoying than an aggressive peloton of spandex-clad bicyclists riding shoulder to shoulder especially when they are taking up the entire right lane and I’m in my car trying to do something important.

Like surf.

But never mind, again. No tattling. Out of water surfers should take up a new pastime like Adam Sandler and his young friend.

Clue: Did a provocative photo of a Wavestorm-wielding muscle-stud turn Oprah Winfrey’s Erik Logan onto the marketability of surfing?

A wild theory.

Rare, I would suggest, is the surfer who can forgot the warm October day in 2018 when the WSL announced it had appointed the president of Oprah Winfrey Network and “avid waterman” Erik Logan as President of Content, Media and WSL Studios, effective the following February.

Even a sceptic hardened by the revolving door of non-surfers taking up prime positions within a company owned by a non-surfing billionaire that had bought the ASP for a handful of shekels in 2012, had to concede: here was a man, finally, who knew his chops.

As was reported at the time, Logan was a media executive without peer, who had “led OWN’s turnaround from 2011 and has positioned the company today as the #1 cable network in its target demographic with 5 of the top 20 shows in scripted cable programs for women ages 25-54, more than any other cable network. Before OWN, Logan was Executive Vice President, programming and broadcast operations for XM Satellite Radio, where he helped build the subscriber base to over nine million subscribers, negotiated partnerships, and managed day-to-day relationships with major content providers including Major League Baseball, PGA Tour, CNN, Clear Channel Communications and Fox News.”

Logan’s waterman bona fides are impeccable: he is the co-founder of Shred and Speed, not sure if it’s a SUP shop or distributor but I think is big in the SUP game, SUP brand Infinity, and he owns a store for watermen in LA’s Manhattan Beach called Nikau Kai Surf Shop.

It is “Inclusive” and “welcoming” and was “Born out of the desire to expand our horizons and open new doors in surfing and what surfing means to us.”

Beautiful sentiments to complement a dazzling CV.

But, at what point did he think, I can sell pro surfing? 

What precipitated his decision to leave Ms O?

Earlier today, a reader sent an Instagram post from February 2018, eight months before the WSL’s announcement, with a telling comment from the SUP-riding, VAL-championing CEO.

It is revealing, as well as a little titillating.

On the IG account, Hotsurferguyzz, which delivers a cavalcade of muscle-studs to its one hundred and eighty-five followers, under a photograph of twenty-four-year-old Hawaii-born Jay Alvarrez holding a Wavesetorm surfboard, and beneath the hashtags #hotsurfer #hotguy #surfing #sun #beach #cutesurfer #cuteguy #sixpack #eatsurfpartysleeprepeat #surfingisfun #surfer #staysalty

Logan writes,

Wow, I love this! 🏄 🌊


Alvarrez, of course, is without peer in the surfer-hunk game, as evidenced by his six-and-a-half mill followers, more than Kelly Slater, Julian Wilson, John John Florence, Italo, Jordy Smith combined, with three million in change.




What did Logan see in the photo of Alvarrez?

Unlike the average man who might be tempted to linger a little long on the surface anatomy of Alvarrez’ abdomen running from the iliac crest to the pubis, Logan, in my opinion, saw the marketability of surfing to the fabled American mid-west.

What girl, what boy, could resist a sport that was able to produce seemingly endless images that emphasise the predominance of the sex instinct?

A marketer to the bone.

Am I right? Or am I right?

Photo of seminal eighties band Surf Punks by @billdanziger

Listen: “And that, dear children, is how the phrase ‘If you don’t live here, don’t surf here’ was reintroduced and the VAL uprising crushed!”

Go home!

I wake up this morning an outlaw, a misdemean* with a rotten attitude and matching sneer. Parents pull their children six feet away from me when I saunter down the street. Grown grandchildren pull their grandparents even further.

A real tough, which is yet another silver lining to this Coronavirus Apocalypse where totalitarianism reigns and surfers must learn to fight The Man once again.

The Man and the VAL.

But do you think it’s possible that this moment right here is the moment surf localism takes root once more? That our own grandchildren will someday sit on our knees while we regale them with stories about once more becoming bad?

I hope.

I trust.

David Lee Scales and I chatted with Ron Shine of Boardporn fame, from bad Rockaway Beach in New York, about surfers hardening up. About surfers flexing dormant muscles and shouting at interlopers then David Lee and I peeled away and chatted other various nonsense.

Our best show yet?


We did it remotely and will never do such again.

Shame on us.

*If a felon commits felonies I assume that a misdemean commits misdemeanors.